I have survived my daughter’s wedding and my sons’ graduation. Once I get the election and a graduation/birthday party behind me, perhaps I will be able to relax a bit this summer.
A few items of interest that the Commission has been working on are below.
• Taxes. The mere mention of the word puts people (myself included) on edge. This week I want to focus on some tax related questions and hopefully clear up some misconceptions that exist.
• Some weeks ago, I discussed an issue that was being discussed in the State legislature concerning out-of-state purchases and the use tax. The first clarification I want to make is that a use tax is a tax on purchases made outside of one’s state of residence and NOT a tax on the amount of internet service you use. Missouri currently collects a use tax at the rate of 4.225% on out of state purchases, but Lincoln County does not currently have a use tax in place, nor does the Commission have any plans to put this issue on the ballot.
• As stated recently, the Commission voted not to pursue the proposed sales tax to fund 911 Dispatch services throughout the county. While Dispatch funding continues to be a challenge due to decreasing land line numbers, the discussion concerning the proposed tax made it very clear that there was significant opposition to the issue. As caretakers of tax dollars, we have been given a mandate to live within our means and that is exactly what we will continue to do.
• Just a reminder that on April 1, 2019, the Debt Service Tax portion of the Hospital bonds will be retired and the tax will no longer be collected. You will see it on your bill later this year, but it will not be levied in 2019. In an era where new taxes seem to be a frequent topic of conversation, we are bucking that trend and ELIMINATING taxes!
• I would like to share a few words about property tax rates in Lincoln County. Keep in mind that the County sets the rate for the General Revenue (GR) and Road and Bridge (RB) property taxes. All other tax rates are set by the school board, fire board, etc. Our goal has been to keep the levy as low as possible as low property tax rates are a key factor driving the nearly 30% growth in both our residential and commercial tax bases since 2011. Both the GR and RB levies are LOWER now than they were in 2011. General Revenue has experienced a modest decline from .1950 per $100 assessed evaluation in 2011 to .1900 in 2017, while the Road and Bridge rate has declined from .2653 per $100 assessed evaluation to .2421 during that same time period. Keep in mind that, while the rates have dropped slightly, real property values continue to rise with the market which at the moment is very strong. We have to keep the lights on and continue to do business, but we continue to work to keep these rates at or near their current levels without compromising service.
That’s all I have time for now. As always, call, e-mail or stop by the Courthouse if you have questions. Until next week…